tv Today in Washington CSPAN June 22, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT
the policy? i know sometimes it's difficult to understand it but i know you aren't the key player on much of the policy direction and regulatory actions associated with past performance, especially private security contractors. can you elaborate? >> i think he hit the nail on the head. it should be considered. there is no doubt about it. . >> that is the ungodly churn
that we have of officers in the theater. we are stuck in iraq. the bulk of your officers are air force personnel because they were the only deployable personnel that we had and we are now just beginning to see the fruits of the army's push to rapidly increase their contracting officer capability and some deployable capability. when you have a contract in officer turning every four to six months instead of spending a year or 18 months or two years on that job, we have a challenge. that is one of the lessons learned that we got from this operation. >> thank you both. we had a contractor that was performing well that was asked to stay on for half a month for 16 days in order to assure that
there was adequate security. it is easy for people to say that if it was me, i am going to say that i might not make the decision that you can never work for the united states government again. i would say that is the performance consideration. realizing that all of these approvals are contractually required, if there was ever a case for the termination for default, which it is not for them to go home and it will negotiate who pays for your way home. this kind of behavior, if it does not affect termination, then i do not guess much will. thank you for your testimony. i want to ask a question and then i want to ask a very specific question about the state department capability because i appreciate the current
policy decisions and the batons that you are being handed. they are very important baton's related to security. i will put my hand up now. how many of you saw or heard about the academy award and winning movie "hurt locker?" is the removal of explosive devices. they were visual. that is why i asked the question. when i was describing it to someone, it looks like the vehicles that are involved look like oversized motor homes with antennas springing all over them. when we were coming back or arriving, there were some environmental dust and we could not get the easy ride.
the commission staff all got here in a few vehicles and got the privilege of bouncing around in that. apparently, there was an i.e. d -- and ied threat. there were three vehicles, one was blocking, one was in the back and one had soldiers doing what they do to assure the safety of soldiers. we waited an hour and a completed it. when we were in iraq, meet we met with your staff and they gave us a list. one of the items was ied removal that was going to be inherited by the state department. we asked the inevitable question. the army goes home, do you have anybody that can run and i e d like they do?
they said that the iraqis to do it, but they don't. they would have to give a contractor. if we had a list of 14 items and the contractors were ready because they feel -- they fill vacuums and they stood by to fill this vacuum. it was just the initial planning, and we were concerned about the planning of the transition and we are told of there are a lot of coordination. what are you doing realizing that under the current plan, on all of these, putting in time counter battery, if someone blows the horn and we all die because there is an effort as explosive device. who is going to run it?
not the iraqis. i am especially interested in seeing if that makes sense to bring contractors in an environment where the united states army has been exceptional in their performance. can you top a little bit about that? -- can you talk a little bit about that. >> thank you very much for that question. we have done a lot in that area already. two of the biggest avoids on your list of 14 when the military withdraws will be the vehicles and all the equipment that come with them as well was tactical command center is a. the hub of communication that ties of the body together. we have -- it has been ongoing for about a year. we have two contracts with private contractors that are
looking to consolidate all of the equipment that we need in our vehicles to match the capabilities as best as possible to the military's. we are also designing a footprint for our command centers to go into all the new locations. we are coordinating these efforts with the military. in many cases, there are ties to these companies that are currently designing these for us. i think that our end goal is to not just turn the light switch out. we would pass the baton off. i am ure it will be very hectic towards the end. we are making a lot of plants as we move forward. we are consulting with each other to do this. at the end of the day, our foreign policy in iraq and the way forward in the future for
helping to build the capacity of iraq, we would prefer not to look like the military. we would like to have a lower key appearance. that is what we are striving for >> let me stop you there. the only observation was in your statement. i will just make the observation. i do not think the united states army, and i am not being critical, works to a standard as best as possible when it comes to remove and wounded from the battlefield. combat medics are flying in and taking the wounded out. there will be a company that says they are the combat medics. it just does not make sense. i'm explore this a little later. commissioner green? >> thank you all for being here.
i know that your all excited about it. i was on a trip with the commissioner to iraq and i spent all of my time at the embassy. i do not have to tell you, you have got a huge mission. i do not know whether the state has ever in its history been asked to take on something like this. and certainly none of us want to see the department sale. but the clock is ticking. you're taking over from an organization, dod and much of it the army, which has a
significant planning capability and significant resources. from my experience in both organizations, the state has not been able to compete with those kind of resources. you have got a real uphill climb. i was very happy when i was in country, and we were briefed a number of times by the ambassador jackson and her staff and the things being done there. but i would like to focus on one thing, and that is the part of the contractors. this is an emotional and very sensitive issue with many. aquino, we had a hearing on friday that dealt with inherently governmental, and
there are many people out there, despite the position of those of the table the believe that the part of that is inherently governmental. i am not going to take a position one way or another. i would like to know, based on your projections, and i think they are probably pretty optimistic about the number of people that it is going to require in iraq along, how you are going to oversee that mission. my understanding is that inl will require something like 50 + psd teams just to do police training. we do not know at this point what the office of military cooperation require curry had we do not know what a ideas corn to require and i do not think that,
until we put in those five -- how're you going to not take over this mission, how're you or to marcher at considering that you only have 1800 total officers, 800 of which are overseas worldwide. >> again, a very good question. thank you for asking. we have created an additional skill code. i just lost my train of thought. >> security special. >> by security -- a special protective security personnel. these are limited appointment positions right now. there will be serving to augment
diplomatic security officers within the psd movement . >> how many have you hired. -- how many have you hired? >> we started hiring and training and we had enough agents to fill iraq and now we will start transitioning them into iraq. >> did you consider that program successful? >> all the feedback that i have gotten from our security personnel has been highly successful. in fact, to the point that we are looking to perhaps create a permanent skill code and move away from the limited appointment with them. >> what would you do with these
folks when we get out of iraq and afghanistan? >> we will be able to use them for the training center. they will have an incredible amount of skill and high threat capability. >> one thing that i am concerned about is coordination appears to be going very well. i am not sure that the level of coordination between both within the department and with dod and -- i will just make a comment. i think an issue came up and
this is probably the most important one, but it cannot be solved in the field. it has to be solved here. who is going to run the states -- the state department's air force. how do not -- department's air force? i do not want you to answer that because i know what your answer would be. but those kinds of issues have to be dealt with here. i would anchorage to to become as active as possible and coordination process. you do not have to respond because i know that you want ds to a run the air force. mr. motsek, i would normally not ask this question at this hearing, because we are talking security, but since you raised in your opening statement, i could not resist.
you made this statement that the quadrennial defense review has a knowledge of contractors as a part of the total force, etc. etc. etc.. there is virtually no planning process within the works within the department of defense to integrate contractors in the planning, other than a cursory mention of them. not even as much mentioned as was in the 2006 qdr. i would like your comments. >> i was very happy with what i got in theqd qdr. we had other recommended language that did not make it. for good or for bad, we have elevated the idea of operational contract and support
to the level of there is a belief in the process going on and especially the policy folks feel that we are addressing those needs in due course as we go through what we're doing. a year ago, we would not have been able to sit here and a knowledge that the chairman has a three phase assessment on the use of contractors. do we have the appropriate mix? he is leading that effort right now. that did not exist. >> why do we have so much difficulty in getting these completed? >> that is only important in selected plans, but even that is only a handful of the specifics. the real issue is whether the supporting service plans -- one she make that decision, it falls
to the army. a year ago, you would recall that we would hire contractors to initially go to each of the commands. we have 40 or 15 of them out in the field. we would try to put this into the planning process. today, eight of those are now government officials. we are weaning ourselves off of this. we have joint planners, now, who are focused on contractor operations and by the end of -- in the next six or eight months, they will be government officials. that is a point in the right direction. we finally published the concept of operations for c s -- for
ocs. >> why is planning for contractors -- why should it be painful? these folks are providing the lion's share of the support. the commander of to think as much about this as he or she does about movement plans, signaled plans -- my time is way over. >> nothing is perfect. i do not want to overstate the case. when the chairman got his face to approach, his face to package -- his of phase two approach, his phase two approach -- package, the folks
that took the lead in this effort are part of that process. >> they are not happy with what was included. >> that is enough. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner green. commissioner? >> i just want to mention that back in the winter of 2008, when i was still trying to find my way around here, the co-chair took a trip to a place i had never heard of and came back with our first evidence on today's subject. much of your analysis of what might go wrong depends on the system of serious incident reports that is filled out and
provided by the pfcs. this dull with civilian casualties and weapons discharges stored iron ore to lay a foundation and then i have a question for you mr. blackwell. the question is going to be, i am going to ask you if we can rely fully on contractors to self report the incidents. three different studies have been conducted on this. one by human rights that reviewed 610 serious incident reports and of the 610, among all of these, only one even suggests unwarranted weapons of
discharge. that is remarkable. then there is a study that i am sure you are familiar with. and there are two studies, actually. they found that subcontractors can sensor or omit incident reports that might reflect on them poorly. a group from 2006 until 2009, and i know your response could be that you made reforms since been, but we are looking for self reporting of these firms. from 2006 until 2009, 207 incident reports, the numbers about civilians or property destroyed, there are zero in that category.
we are seeing a certain pattern among the self reporting incidents. finally, the special inspector general did a study in which 109 incidents no iraqi civilians were injured, let alone killed. can we count onpfcs to report their weapons discharges? >> that is a difficult question to answer. ken starr with a yes or no? >> in many of usaids scenario, we almost have no choice. >> can we count on them to reliably self report civilian casualties and weapons discharges. this is my second try to get a
yes or no. can we rely on them or not? >> i am not sure. >> do you think is quite possible to rely on them when they have reported zero in hundreds of the reports. >> is a question i cannot answer. >> ms. lam, let me ask you. on no of your diplomatic service. i know that in some of your areas, you have agents aboard vehicles and some of these contracts have video screens. you have a critical -- credible reports. absent that kind of scrutiny, and a lot of the theater does not have the kind of scrutiny, can we count on private security
contractors to reliably report all of their civilian casualties and all of their weapons discharges? >> if you categorized them with all of them, i would say no. but since we have created a position for contract coordinator and we have drastically increase our relationship with iraq authorities, -- >> i have very few minutes, and i appreciate that they cannot be counted on. i wish that they had the would have sent somebody with your ability -- with usaid would have sent somebody with your clarity. to quote the usaid report, it
found that the zero casualties had been reported during timeframe where 140 pfcs were injured. the reporting can be very full in one category and zero in the other category. it was stunned that 17 black documentation of the most basic point which was that the government had consented to their hiring. can we can on them? >> i would like to begin. we are working with outside the wire. we are our implementing
partners are very unique and different. some of them worked in a much different thought process than -- >> can a subcontractors be counted on so for pointing as primes? yes or no, can they be counted or not? >> sir, i was trying to answer your question by laying the groundwork. >> i only have 40 seconds left. can you say yes or no? >> i would say no. >> no. >> can i clarify? >> i will give you additional time, but you could wrap it up
at the end, but it is probably take a run at it. there is not a lot of force protection. our partners work in a different type of working environment. we have different force protection. most of these are indigenous contractors. the difficulties of reporting will be higher based on the type. >> thank you, and i appreciate the clarification. >> on friday, there was a reason award to a blackwater company.
i want to ask you, does state county incident were 17 incidents were killed by blackwater and extreme of past form of fat is bad when it considers bid by black water? >> that is a complex question. it is based on past performance of the contract. ok. i do not have any more time. with discount as past performance? >> is still an ongoing court case. i do not want to comment on that at this time please.
commissioner hanke, please, sir. witnesses are familiar withthe section deals with very comprehensive training, alleging, and equipping of private security functions. in an area of combat operation. with each of the witnesses tell me if you believe -- with each of the witnesses tell me if you think that section 22 is the most complete lot for private securities -- private contractors? >> yes. >> sir, likewise. >> likewise. >> yes, but i also think that because we use a lot of different protective security details that follow other governments rules, we need a different prototype. >> ok, mr. motsek. said sinn e of the law requires that the secretary of defense shall designate the areas
constituting an area of combat for the sections. iraq and afghanistan are included in the areas designated as an area of combat designation. has the secretary of defense designated an area of combat operations? >> the answer to my knowledge is no. the reason is because the executive authority of even the secretary presides -- roadsides in the executive branch, and the president has done this. it is redundant and a requirement. >> so the secretary has not designated an area of combat operations, that is simply correct?
>> i have never seen a document in response to section 22. >> the rule that was published in the federal register says among other things that the secretary of defense may designate such areas of combat operations for the limited purposes of this part. maybe that was just an oversight or a type of typo -- or a typo. state and usaid, are they bound to follow the requirements of section 22? in an area, in a designated area of combat operations, the chief of mission will be responsible for doping -- developing and implementing
instructions for pscs. i think a lot was trying to come up with one playbook, and operate under the same guidelines for selection, training, and oversight of pscs. my question for ms. lamb and mr. blackshaw -- it is stayed down by the parameters of this law? -- it is state -- is state bound by the parameters of this lot? >> our civilian contracts and civilian personnel that we deal with do not understand the military language that they are written and. we work very closely together,
where appropriate in compliance with the specific mission for our personnel, and that they parallel each other. we have gone to great pains to make sure that that happens in these areas. >> my understanding and my reading of the regulation, i believe that it is final, right? jim is interim period >> is an interim-final. the final should be out this year. >> section 862 applies in iraq and afghanistan when the development of chief mission says it will apply. is that a fair understanding? >> we have applied if the military has applied consistently. >> that is not a question. it allows some discretionary authority as the chief of mission in iraq or afghanistan determined that section 862
applies in iraq or afghanistan? >> i would have to conserve with our legal personnel. i am not sure that there is anything in writing that says that. we are responsible for publishing the directives that is signed by the ambassador. >> but not formally? the state has not brought them under section 8 of 262 -- of 862? >> i know that you have staff that were able to talk. i understand that indeed i did
was to get the rule out the door. are you saying that the chief, even though he had not made that designation, the that the operating is that if he did, they are following all of the intense. is that your position? >> that is my position, yes. >> so we would find this in each one of the contracts? you can ask the person behind you feel like. >> -- behind you if you like. >> the only personnel that i have with me are the experts on
diplomatic security contracts and it is in all of our contracts. >> mr. blackshaw, is usaid down by section 862? >> the answer would be yes. for our security details that are subcontractors, our correlation role is with the language in the contracts and grants. that should be applied for those contracts and grants. that is what the audit found and i believe we may all the corrections. -- made all the corrections. >> are we running the same set of rules? >> what we have forgotten is that the reason that the language is slightly different is because it's 62 was primarily applied to iraq and afghanistan. we were trying to create a
broader rule. >> as long as it was designated. >> exactly right. we have already had declarations and the like. this goes back. >> it still requires to bring the department under a set of standards which would be published in the future. you are now talking about security. it is a body will document. >> it predates the 862,. >> >> i would just like to
follow up with an addendum on the request. i think i heard to say that the state department has adopted it for consistency's sake. my question would be that once dod leaves iraq, is the state department down by age 62? if it is the informal arrangement, what happens when the consistency issue is not necessary anymore. this is just an addendum to that. >> that is the key question. when we go from title tend to title 22, or water in a combat operation. you hit the nail right on the head by asking that particular question. >>
you have been here a couple of times before. you are a substitute witness for us. a little bit of my frustration is the fact that this entire issue of private security contractors is seen as one that resigns in the acquisition community and it is all about management. management is important, but there are also a number of questions that fall outside of the acquisition area. something you said reinforces my frustration, which is that you were happy to get anything into the that is not how we would like the department to handle that. with that said, let me turn to you mr. blackshaw. how many employees carry weapons? >> none. >> so, none of the usaid funded employees? >> none of our u.s. direct hires carry weapons.
>> i asked how many usaid funded employees. >> from what i understand, our implementing partners to not carry weapons. when there is a need for that type of force protection, they subcontract out that responsibility to a firm that is licensed for the host government. >> how many of those are the carry weapons? >> it varies.
>> in iraq. i am focused on iraq. >> we have about 12 implementing partners that have protective security detail from companies such as [unintelligible] >> how many of those carry weapons? >> by all do, generally. >> you have -- you act so detached. these are funded by u.s. dollars, correct? >> yes sir. >> who owns those weapons? what's it would be the company that owns them. >> who has responsibility for inventory and monitoring their use? >> to the best of my knowledge, it would be the protective security detail companies. >> i think that you mentioned mostly u.s. companies when you
were reading off of your list to the extent that they are u.s. companies, do they fall under section 862? >> yes ma'am. >> one of the reports that my colleague referred to is the oig report. even though we are talking about iraq, one of the recommendations that they made seems to be relevant across a number of different areas. regulate private subcontractors, the have a position on whether that would be a good idea? >> i think that there needs to be regulations. there needs to be a code of conduct. rules of the use of weapons and things of that nature. i do not think that we can regulate it completely because each of the implementing partners are working in very unique operating environments
and they have to blend in with the cultural -- >> i understand that. what we have learned in our trips to the field, locally based aid employees do not spend much time getting out into the field. would regulating the private subcontractors for the private security services -- it seems to me you would have to change your operating process and get out and actually see what is going on in the field. >> it is a very difficult such a way some. a lot of times, usaid can-do program monitoring, but with the type of force protection that we bring along with us, we could actually put the implementing partners and the recipients of the aid in jeopardy. usaid has a working group looking at how to do program monitoring more effectively in a combat environment. >> usaid works in a high combat
environment. i would hope that you have figured out a lot of this already and could be bringing those lessons and to the iraqi theater. -- into the iraqi theater. i would like to give the state department some credit for creating this position. too often, this debate resolve's -- revolves around the fact that we can't do it because we can't do it. in your budget request, particularly with respect to the mission that you will be taking on, have you requested -- has your request been approved? >> yes, these numbers have been approved. >> so you have gotten everything you have asked for? >> is in the budget. we have not gotten anything yet.
built issues and that they are focused on things that deserve our focus. my time has expired. >> mr. commissioner? >> thank you mr. co-chairman. you guys deserve credit. if you midday statement -- you made a statement that is on page 4. you would agree that you get what you pay for, correct? >> that is correct.
>> then why do you continue with contracts that are lowest priced technical is acceptable? >> thanks to the city commission today, -- of the sitting commission today, we will be awarding a new contract. it will combine our existing static guard contract. >> let me ask you point blank. can you guarantee this commission that the next one will be the best value?
i would want a guarantee. you have kids getting killed out there. can i get that guarantee? >> i can guarantee that the process is on track -- >> no, i want a guarantee that the next contract will not be the lowest priced technically available. why do you want to protect people on the cheap? if it was your kids or it was my cards, you would not want that. >> of course not. >> can i give that guarantee? >> yes. >> mr. blackshaw, i do not envy you. who is your boss? >> the director of security. >> ok, is he here? your his boss? what are you at the table? >> first of all, -- >> could you come to the papal -- to the table, sir? >> we will have to pause for a moment because i have a responsibility to swear him in. >> will you put a timeout on my
time? >> i will time out your time. >> do you swear that everything you say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> i do. >> let the record show that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. >> can you give me your full name and tell me what your responsibility is and can you tell me the birth of your responsibility relative to that of mr. blackshaw? >> i am the director of security of usaid. mr. black shark is one of the division chiefs under my control. >> supposedly, you have a broader mandate.
the kinds of hemming and hawing that mr. blackshaw had to do, you do not have to do, correct? >> i would hope not. >> ok, then do not him and hall. because mr. blackshaw was forced here and there, do you folks at aid contract security personnel? >> no. >> you do not contract at all? >> overseas, no. >> when usaid people go into the field, who protect them? >> either diplomatic security or contractors funded by security. >> so, your people are essentially protected by contractors and nobody else. >> there may be occasions when eight people travel within the country -- when a id people travel to the country. our partners may have the contract for the security force. >> could you identify partners?
>> [unintelligible] >> and they provide security for your personnel. >> on occasion, that may occur. >> how do you overseeing the performance of those people that are providing protection for your people on occasion? >> the requirements for their performance would be under the contract. >> and how do you overseeing the review of those contracts given that it is your people's lives at stake? >> the contract in officer at the mission would be irresponsible for oversight of what is required in the contract.
>> is an aid staff member? >> yes. >> what kind of visibility do you have into the performance of these private security contracts personnel that are working for the contractors that you hire? you say that it is up to the personnel out there, but what kind of evidence comes back into headquarters? how do you check for incidents? county check for mishaps? i am curious. tell me. >> the reporting is done by the aig. >> of the inspector general is not reporting for you, they're reporting for the people. how do you manage it? when i was in dod, the last people i relied on was the aig. >> what we have done -- one of the issues that we recognized a year and a half ago was that we needed better coordination and
oversight of the partners when they chose to employ contractors for security. we have assisted the aid mission. it is a key interface between the partners and the aid mission and the security officer. >> when your people you contract with hire out or contract with contracts, are those the lowest priced contracts?
>> could you repeat the question? >> you say that the partners would contract out the security. correct? >> that is correct. >> sometimes, those security folks will protect your folks? >> yes. >> those contracts, are those the lowest priced contracts? >> i do not know about that. i can get back to you. >> absolutely, i would like to hear about it in 24 hours because people's lives are at stake. i share my colleagues' concern about the cutie are. -- about the qdr. you are really good at what you do.
pushed back, then osd would just say, "too bad." what happened here? >> it is processed differently than when you were in the building. after the fact, as we did the after action review as to what made it and what did not make it, the response that i got was that we had in place and were making progress, this was not a red flag to the extent that it had to be raised as a specific issue. the broader issue was raised. i am thankful that it acknowledged the fact -- when you and i grew up, there were three pieces. the other piece that i think that we have made progress on is that here to fore, to be blunt about it, our commanders frankly did not plan beyond phase three. they did not plan beyond that. the secretary has put out some specific guidelines that you are aware of that make it extremely important and they must plan for all phases of the operation. when you go to phase three,
phase four and phase five, that is when this huge contractor package comes into play. i do not want to look at the qdr in isolation. i think if you look at the totality, you see that we may reasonable progress. you bring up a good point. and i personally satisfied? certainly not. from a broad perspective, i think that we made progress. >> another question, this process, ipoa is the organization that tries to monitor these contracts. are you aware of a single case where a contractor has been censured by ipoa? >> that hits the nail on the head. we have associations out there. but this goes back to the discussion that we were having before. >> in that case, why do you think that this document that is essentially going to be run py the same people who have not
censured a single one of their colleagues, what will make a difference? >> that is the key issue. there are two components. we are waiting for the legal version because we have the aspirational version floating around for a couple of months. the second pieces to half a certifying authority independent of what you and i consider to be the trade associations and independent of the government proper. we can always enforce our own rules. an independent agency, quite frankly, without going into specifics, because i cannot talk about specific organizations, but some of the international organizations have stood up and said that we are ready and prepared to perform this mission as the independent assessor of what goes on. what is so key to this is that
[captioning made possible by bloomberg television] captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- those threats can be replaced so the question is, over the course of the years, not year but years, are the threats not only coming out quickly enough in terms of operational temple so that the fabric phrase and rips? if the operational tempo slows the fabric can be restored. i think we're on a good tempo now. we have been for a few years. i would have argued three or four years ago, things are tougher. i think again that we make a mistake not only in assessing whether an individual takedown
is important. i'm telling you, we should assess groups of individuals and the pace of operation. we make the mistake of talking about timeframes. the western time is short. our adversary thinks in terms of decades and centuries. now that i am not sending government, i can say when i hear them say there are down this year and up next year. i say, look, i want to know where they will be in 10 years and 50 years. we ought to be looking at this through the eyes of the adversary. that's how they look at it. so a success this year, from their optic, from the way they look at the world, might be simply vindication that they are being tested and vindication of they are on the right path. if they were not being tested they would be saying that this is too easy and it cannot be right. losses over six months or a year to me are not necessarily indicative of whether the organization is dying. losses over three, five, 10
years are. i'm not saying we'll be at this forever. i will tell you what the last chapter is in this book. i will tell you later on i think the wave has crested and i think the organization is dying from within. i should not say organization. i see this as a revolutionary movement. not an organization. nonetheless, we have to think long-term about what they are up to. i mentioned downsize for the organization. they have had a lot of ups. if you think of this group as a group that sat back 20 years ago and had a vision that they could spark people who never touched and al qaeda member, went to a camp in pakistan or afghanistan but led those people to think and act as they want them to think, think about what has happened since then. we have had difficult campaigns in southeast as i yarks muslim militants in the philippines who have mixed with al qaeda affiliate's,
successes for this organization in saudi arabia in 2003 and beyond. there was the evisceration of the saudi and yemeni organizations. but now, remember what i said a moment ago? now, seven or eight years ago, the organization is resurging in yemen. the prospect of time is long. you have the prospect of the, if not affiliated, at least sympathetic people coming into power in the horn of africa. you have a group that raised its flag in algeria in moroccan or tunisian organizations. now have arrest after arrest after arrest in western europe. by the way, these are wayward countries. you the tragedy of dozens of deaths in britain and then over the past, whatever it is,
12-18 months, we have arrest after arrest in the united states. this is a formidable organization, but if you think of it as a revolutionary organization. if i am in their shoes, i am saying we could have done worse. the could have done worse to have revolutionaries who never met us take up the flag, across from the southern philippines to denver, colorado. think about how this revolution has moved as you try to imagine what the future will look like. i would argue it has moved through three threads of people who have absoshed the revolution. -- absorbed the revolution. the first is a core group that al qaeda is still formidable. i cannot remember a time where i would sit and watch the threat matrix and doing briefings with the directors, the attorney general's coming year after year, i could not remember a time where there was
not some kind of serious al qaeda problem that had implications for the states. not all of them reached the azazi plot. they were all serious. meanwhile, while the american public when watch the american region watch the occasional peak, attacks in great britain, the underlying, when you would not see the piques was constant. that is one reason i am happy to be out. i did not have to sit at 7:00 a.m. and watch a kid who is 17-year-old wanted to blow himself up. if we get at them early, there may be immigration fraud, marriage fraud. whatever you take that kid down for. when i am saying is people who look at these threats by reading the newspaper are misled. you only see the peaks, but the valleys are not that low. i think the three threads are still prominent.
i mentioned al qaeda coordinator informants. -- the second, which has been more prominent overseas are the affiliated organizations. by those, i mean organizations that as a whole have taken on the call qaeda mantle. the arabian peninsula, the yes, ma'amnies. -- the yemenis. after seeing affiliated operations around the world and knowing it was coming to our shores, the question should not be are we immune? it was inevitable. we are the head of the snake. in the internet age, the of the integration means nothing. your currency is beheaded spg videos, those that show a dead kid in gaza. finally, after having had al qaeda problems, we also have david hedley in chicago.
in the past year, we have had the core of al qaeda, the kid in denver and new york, the like-minded who will carry the revolution forward. it is a global revolution. like-minded people in places like dallas. at their people who want to pick up weapons to attack. new jersey. i mentioned a global because to my mind that are not much different than the like-minded from syria who walked into iraq. middle east and i view the kids in this country, which we view as the bastion as democracy, why would anyone adopt this ideology in this country? there are not any different than the kids i see from remarkably different cultures.
khalid shaikh mohammed, to my mind, they were ideologically motivated, very focused people. the kids are seeing today similar to what we have seen kids see overseas. frank and i have talked to some of these kids in places like to arabian peninsula. there are talking among themselves. they call these clusters of kids, i have never seen the show "24" the kids who are talking. this idea that there is a cell or something is not the world i live in. they start showing videos from an attack in iraq. they show videos from people killed after a u.a.v. attack in pakistan. a kid attacked in a u.s. refugee camp who was murdered. these kids start to talk and they say, "let's do something about this." this is not much different than a kid in yemen, saudi arabia, syria, jordan, lebanon who in
2004, 2005 was saying they did not know the way to get involved but they knew if they showed up in baghdad maybe they could do something about the emotional sense we are being wronged. i use the word emotional. i went to contrast it to the people in the core al qaeda who are so deeply and ideologically motivated. these kids we are seeing believe the ideology, many i have seen do not. they are emotionally driven by conversations, photos, sermons. there is an advantage there, by the way. emotionaly driven people are easier to turn, not just for sources, but easier to turn away from the movement and revolution because they do not always understand what they are joining up for. hold on just a minute here. hold on. hold on just a minute. especially since the floor is mine.
last i checked, i am not getting paid for this. 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 2.5 hours. this could turn into fidel castro. 9:30 at night. maybe not, right, frank? hold on. i am 20 minutes in and i have given you a picture. i and the world's leading optimist. my nieces are here. we had a great day yesterday. we will go hang out and georgetown today. this is going to be ugly. anyone who wants to join me, you are paying. this is a dark picture. it is sunny outside. that taint world or at least the full world that i see. we see reminders that this campaign is lethal. murder in pakistan. arrests in our country, the potential for attacks in europe, but i'm not done yet.
i do not think you get your money's worth unless we talk about the problems in this revolution. i think they are substantial and i think the problems are growing. i think the adversary is in trouble. the first responsibility we have and the first reason, i think, we should be assured we are on the right path is the business i came from and that is i think security is better than it was nine years ago. i think we have learned a lot. i think in some ways we have got a lot more professional about how we handle threat from those days we were looking at the threat colors when it was on the newspapers every day and we were dealing with the daily threat briefings around town and still trying to determine lanes in the road and make it as mechanical as we could. people often ask why we have not had another attack in this country. let's go through why. it is a new answered story and the answer ain't easy but i
think there is one. i want to do this on why you should not walk out of your -- here feeling depressed, unless you want to. if you want to foot the bill for lunch, you can really be depressed. the affiliate's are struggling. not always but they are struggling. they're struggling in iraq. zarqawi made the strategic error. he killed too many locals. after all qaeda told him not to, he still killed too many locals. we can talk about the impact of the surge in iraq, the coalition forces. to my mind, maybe because i come from a terrorist plans, but we have seen these same mistakes in the same reasons that the affiliate's are diverting. they killed too many locals. the messages that are now
publicized, go after the head of the snake. ego is too big. you can kill the foreigners. you can kill too many of us and then they told local folks with the coalition, there is the foreigners. go take them out. affiliate's are struggling in places like north africa. i do not think of the past couple of years that is a grab has gone anywhere close -- that zagreb has got as close. the have adopted some of the thinking. fewer tax on local targets, more tax on heads of the snake. oil companies or governments leave and the local government is more susceptible to the revolutionary movement. local government in algeria was not susceptible 20 years ago. the message of al qaeda was you were successful in overthrowing the government
because they had the support of the head of the snake. that is the transition in thinking for terrorists. raise the bar, raise the level of your targeting. from the locals o the ffreigners so when the foreigners leave the locals will go down more easily. i do not think there are doing that well. i think they took a huge hit that really decimated the organization. they have a structure, as i mentioned earlier, was the most remarkably organized and disciplined of any group outside al qaeda. once they made the mistake of attacking too many people, security services got serious and they went down. i don't think the foreign wing -- i thinks it is a threat but it is certainly not the core of the movement. the core is how to take over -- i believe. so security services, the
c.i.a., u.s. military operations in places like iraq and afghanistan really decimated this organization after the revolutionries themselves gave us an opening. i think there are other pieces to this patchwork of that is, if you miss them overseas, and we make fun of d.h.s. let me tell you something. passports, more questioning at airports, watch listing. very inefficient way to do a business. look at who they are sending in here. you get the inefficiency of making sure the people you do not know about go into these borders. i can tell you that the adversary is worried about the difficulty of getting into this country. we can take shots at the infrastructure in this country, the way we protect
infrastructure at the borders, but our adversary feels much more uncomfortable trying to get into this country than they did nine years ago. they are not decimated overseas, but they try to look at how to resuscitate and they see a country whose borders are much tougher. remember that a lot of people that had years of operational experience and there, whether they are document forgers or facilitators, they are gone. the once coming up behind them, as it resulted, all of these things are the result of operational successes are not going to be as comfortable devising means to get into a country that have never been to. the last thing i would tell you in terms of looking at the operational perspective on optimism is that state locals in this country and the f.b.i. chase every lead there is. there is the leads you see and the 100 behind them you don't.
poison pen letters which is a lot of what we used to deal with. there is a lot of pissed off boyfriends in this country who think that if the right and nasty letter about their old boyfriends new -- the old girlfriends new boyfriend, do not do that. my point is not only the amount of resources are dedicated against this, but the learning curve and the maturity with which we look at a target is fundamentally different. than it was nine years ago. let me give you an example in moment. if you miss them overseas, if foreign security sources miss them, if our hardened mortars and hardened cop tips make it heat here, someone will look at them. part of that transformation is formative and i think that is one of the reasons that we stay safe.
that is the transition of saying that someone is the target of an investigation and as american citizen, i knew about investigations. if you ever got behind the doors that i got behind when i transitioned from the california to the nib 2005, the security service we have in this country are stunning. these are pros from dover. but what we talked about with director muller, was that when we see a target, the questions we have or not one of that target is prosecutable, but it transitions from the starfish to the spider web. we don't just want to cut off one part of a plot. when we take it down we want to destroy entire network. we can be over the bar and prosecuting someone to i sat in a thousand briefings with the director. starched white shirt. button down.
get a blue shirt. now that i've left the government. i'm going to get a phone call. what we said more and more is that we understand who we are looking at, but the questions that we have on not starfish questions. that person will tell us who got him into the movement. has he traveled? if he traveled who did he see overseas? word of the ideology come from? is there someone who was involved in radicalizing it has the not sflod the plot? the dsh involved in plot? we sat on plots time after time where we certainly have plenty to come down on somebody, but the questions we had were not if we could take them down, the question we had was if we knew this network and web well enough so that we are not learning any more which is the definition of a really great take down to it is
not ever that easy. we also had an adversary who helped. this is maybe the most significant thing i can say before i close. this ideology was developed as many of you know in the 1990's, an organization that started arguing that attacking outside of algeria and iraq was legitimate. they built a theological basis for this. this basis is thin ice. and the ice got thinner over the past years as more and more local people died. again, i am a trained analyst. secretary powell used to tell me tell me what you know and tell me what you don't know and tell me what you think.
i know this. look at the muslim attitude studies and look at countries that are surveyed that, after 2001 themselves suffered an attack. the support for al qaeda and bin laden as revolutionries. in 2003, there were too many locals that died. 2005, jordan, hotel attacks. overnight support for zarqawi dissipates. there were attacks and pakistan. going back, as i have said repeatedly, i think this is an ill understood concept, going back to the early 1990's with algeria and egypt, watching 100,000 plus people dying in algeria and when al qaeda is considering whether to affiliate with the algerians,
one of the questions is the wonder if they will be sullied by affiliating with people who were not only known as murderers from the 1990's, but who will raise more questions about the appropriateness of this ideology. this is actually -- that killing overseas is ok. what i am telling you is that research in these past few years is that these countries that have had a tax do not show remarkable declines in support for the united states through the that is not the message. the recruiting pool is still huge. they show remarkable decline and i think increasingly irrelevance for suicide attacks in al qaeda. these guys are eating themselves. i love washington d.c.. great capability of a lot of questions. there are questions about how we participate in this world of ideas and my answer would be to save some money and let these
guys eat themselves up. because they are. research will show you. clerics from saudi arabia and egypt have come out against al qaeda's ideology. the organization -- al qaeda's ideology. the organization as individuals involved of the talk about this on things like blogs. i notice a difference in the statements after fort hood and then after the december 25 attempt. they were different statements. the guy is trying to figure out -- he doesn't have a problem justifying fort hood, military target. and there's a lot of shucking and jiving after the december 25 attack. it would have been a better idea if it had been a military
target. no kidding, chief. this ideology is killing itself. the most recent example to my mind is an organization that slowly establishes some version of safe haven that takes the brilliant step of doing the same thing again. killing so many pakistanis that the pakistan the parliament has now said that they better go after these boys. you have the most sustained operations in the tribal areas and outside the tribal areas that we've had since 9/11. i think many people in these countries still believe some of the motivations for al qaeda are -- but beheadings overseas and body parts in bali and the destruction of the sacred marriage in jordan, these are
not winning propositions. i can tell you, going back to when we first sat at those tables that i went back to in january of 2002, the world seemed extremely turbulent but a you couldn't see where we were going and you had no sense that we were on solid ground. did they have anthrax? are they in the united states? do they have a cell level attack next month? do they have people in training now? the number of friday nights that george tenet would say, it was an interesting point. i can't count them anymore. a lot of that was because we were trying to capture uncertainty. i think we're in a steadier world, now. as i said, i am out of government and i will not be subtle. i think a lot of my colleagues are slowly coming to believe that the way this cresting to -- i think the movement is dying.
i think that one of the challenges that we have is to understand that even as a comet dies, the tail of that comet is lethal. we will lose lives in this country. i will bet -- i don't make a pay check anymore. i will bet rob lloyd's paycheck. he's leaving now. that we will lose people in this country because we have continued al qaeda plotting, we have i think way late in the game the presence of affiliates in this country and we have like-minded people who are intent on coming after us. they are not intent on attacking, they want to carry out this revolutionary ideology. the half-life of an ideology should be measured in a decade or two decades or three decades. it is an idea, it is not an attack. the attack is a manifestation
that someone has absorbed the idea. his ideas have a long half-life, maybe we have another 10 or 20 years to go. as this adversary eats its young, these bits of the tale of the comet will hit us and the question that we will have as we grieve for people who were murdered that were not jihaddists, that were not terrorist, that were murdered. as we grieve for people who were murdered, we have to ask ourselves how we are going to react against an organization that is already declining. theapt victory. my message is that they should never get one. gang members murdered many people in this country every year. we go after them and take them down. there are filthy murderers.
khalid shaikh mohammed is not a terrorist. he is not a jihaddist. he is a filthy murderer. i would love to decorate that dude's cell, i would silk screen his boxer shorts with the people he murdered. his newspaper would have copies of the birthdays of the people he has killed. he's a murderer. when something happens in this country, the question is whether we deal with it with the same forbearance that we deal with other challenges that this society has. i look at my nieces that are sitting here with me. chelsea and amanda, i worry about drugs and gangs. all three are the same. and they are all murderers and we should not miss that. it is how we stand up and face up and chin up and move forward and let's throw them in jail and let them rot. you know, i came here today, it
feels like a coming out party. i love talking to audiences like this. it is a real honor to roll out of bed a little early and to roll out of bed to people who have other stuff to do, to come out and listen. makes me feel good. there is a roomful of people and i don't notice any sleepers. that is a mark of success. a roomful of people that are willing to listen. people would be surprised at what i saw over the years. how much is out there. even as they have the luxury. i'm proud of this as a security professional that sthray the luxury to think of things like childhood obesity, education. we succeeded we have a long way
to go on this road. keep your chin up. this adversary -- they are humans. they are humans hiding behind jihad, have decided that the murder of an innocent soul is acceptable. this is an ideology that can never win. unless we let it. this is not a threat to this country. this is not an existential it is a threat to the lives of the innocents that will die in future years but it is a threat we can end. they are jihaddists and they are terrorists. they are murderers whose movement is dying. and i would love to take your questions. >> thank you, phil. thank you for a very -- [applause] for a very provocative and
broad, both in terms of breadth and depth and in term t'wolves landscape you covered in sets of issues. i will take the prerogative you -- to be number three in al qaeda is obviously a dangerous job and per your comments, i think spot on not to pay too much attention to the peaks and valleys over six-month cycles but i am increasingly very concerned about what i refer to as bridge -- the others who are propagating their narrative on the internet and facile taking it radicalizeation at an ever quicker pace and perhaps the war of ideas is not the right approach to go but i think
there is a role for the government to help facilitate the adversaries and narrative falling under its own weight. the narrative, the ideology, the political statement, so until we thards we're going to have a lot of tactics masquerading in strategy. i would be >> i think this is critically important. these are people who have spread the ideology beyond the core of the organization. therefore they are in essence the definition of what al qaeda might have wanted to become 20 years ago. in the 21st century with how we
contract people and the difficulty of moving around if you're an al qaeda member, you don't want to be in the business of training a bunch of people in a camp in pakistan. you want to have someone in yemen, for example, do it for you. one of the measures of success for the organization will be whether any of these affiliates get enough safe haven and ideological traction to start independently running an al qaeda-like organization. one of the most recent things is the december 25 attempt because it is the first time that i can think of where an affiliate showed intent and capability to reach inside the united states and to my mind, that is not just a kinetic or operational act. it is the indication that the aisle ideology even as al qaeda just got enough traction in yemen and people are saying how do we take out president and
how do we take out detroit. i think on your questions about the internet, a couple of thoughts. the first is i think we should play. i think people bho who go beyond the line and sho things like beheading videos on the internet, i say you're done. there are operational implications on this. how much do you lose by shutting down your internet sites and how much do you gain by destroying ideology. i think in difficult decision-making times, the easy question here is if you accept a premise that this is a revolutionary organization, let's take the operational hit to damage revolution. the spread of ideology. don't take out anything that we're legally able to take out on the internet. our messaging, i think, should be pretty straightforward.
that is we don't mess around with jihad. we never use the word terrorism. we never call them terrorists. they are punk murderers. they kill people. when things happen, we ought to look at what they say. look at spring of 2007, 2008, pardon me. it is an almost rude question from the geography teacher in algeria who asked about the killing of innocents who said basically why don't you go after people like jews? this is first out of the box questions. this is not a live interview. these are not filtered questions. this is not a paid advertisement. i think he knows they are losing ground in terms of popular opinion when they kill innocents so we ought to talk
about jihad or terrorism or -- we ought to just say talk about what they don't want us to talk about. every act they take. some innocent man, woman or child is dead. every time a child dice those parents don't get to see that child raised and every time a parent dies the child has to live without the family. that ain't tough, that ain't jihad. that is murder. >> i'm going to have a hard time. i do refer to them as jihaddists. >> i'm not coming back. [laughter] >> what about al qaeda, a little bit about the taliban and nothing about iran. so let me ask you about that. those three groups, al qaeda, taliban, iran. what are the connections, if any, among them. are they cooperating? are they competing or are they
independent of each other? >> boy, that is a good question. i think from a western optic. i'll give you an answer that is really hard to understand because at different levels the messages you get are contradictory. i think at the broadest level, you still have a broad sunni divide that manifests itself, the hatred to have shia regime in teheran. before 9/11 i don't think you would sigh any activity between taliban and al qaeda but there is a marriage that, you know, sometimes the enemy of your enemy becomes your friend. these guys are not friends. i don't think that there is any operational cooperation between the two. i think sometimes that the iranians might look at afghanistan and say it ain't bad for the americans to get bled by the taliban and some of the al qaeda affiliates because
we want the americans out of here. we forget by the way that we're on the western and eastern borders of iran and if we had iran in mexico and canada i think we would be going nuts. i think looking at the way they think about al qaeda, i don't think they like them. i don't think they are that interested in dealing with them but i think they look at looer level activity and say you know, they are bleeding our enemy. we don't like them. they did arrest the leadership council in spring, 2003, but i think the story is pretty fuzzy when you go a little bit further down and have an tharne says i don't like these guys but still they are bleeding the enemy. >> please identify yourself. >> suzanne spalding. phil, thank you. that was really outstanding. >> thank you. >> i want to ask a little bit about the domestic threat. first of all, whether you see these smaller scale attempts
as, perhaps, some of the tail of the comet, the throes of a dying organization and secondly, what o we do about it and particularly i know you're familiar with the united kingdom's effort. they have a more significant, home grown scaled threat and they are -- the pillar of their prevention efforts and that kind of outreach to muslim communities, for example, as compared to, say, enhanced electronic surveillance as a way of addressing potential homegrown concerns? >> i think that the operational implications of these threats are significant for the united states. if you had three kids in a basement in atlanta, georgia, or portland, oregon or california, society the chance of society finding all three of those is zero.
if that is the bar in this country, get over it. we can't limbo that. i mean, so, i think in terms of "strategic threat" damage al qaeda means the prospect of 19 hijackers on airlines declines. prospect that a couple of kidses will get a couple of a.k.-47's and doing something stupid has probably risen. going back to 2001-2002, it has been so long, so many vodka tonics it is out of my mind. it is a joke. ok? turn off the camera. dad, if you're watching, i meant diet coke. i don't remember the conversations about at this level about these so-called homegrouns. a term i hate. i think that is a medicine testation of the revolution. i think it is a step forward in the decline of threat. these kids are not going to get
19 hijackers. i think your question about community outreach, don't look to the brits for anything. a bunch of losers. no, i'm just kiddings. the lessons we learned from dealing with security partners were profound. in many ways they are better at this than we are. they have been at it longer. i would argue as well to be blunt that their national dialogue is much more mature than ours. if you can look and find theeds on the web, look at the -- not only the outline paths for action but the directness with which they address the problem, talk about the role of government in sort of stemming the tithe of language -- tide of language, very open about this. very direct. very tight partnership. i think that cultures are so different in interprets of the concentration in communities in
britain, it would be hard to do that here because our country is much more fiff fuse in terms of populations. i think there is a lot to learn about how we mature in talking about idol but also there is a lot to learn to be quite blunt, in how we react to events because my conversations around the world with security services, i have often found them much more mature in responding to events and frankly surprised at how we respond. how we deal with, for example, creating new infrastructures, after there is an event. how every individual in the event gets -- how every organization, the judgment is they must have done something wrong instead of just saying you know, sometimes bad things an. -- bad things happen. >> i will be curious on that
question, specifically looking at the role of domestic intelligence and whether or not we need such an enterprise in the united states. you and i mutually visited together i think some of the counterterrorism units and some of the countertism units. what i am suggesting is we have to start asking the hard questions. what sort of capacity, whether or not we need heat maps and -- >> where should the united states go in this set of challenges and is the bureau up to the task? >> well, i think the bureau can get this job done. i don't think the evolution i saw was pretty remarkable. the boss would hate me for this but i think a lot depended on the director to press hard to make this happen. if somebody comes in there and doesn't insist on continuing the evolution, there will be
slippage but i think the organizational question has been answered. i think there is a bigger question to be had, though. that is, the american people expect a lot out of the federal security service. you realize that the american people don't expect anymore that they have a federal bureau of investigation. i'm not being coy here. they expect that bad things won't happen in this country. they expect security, security is by definition preemptive. about the 9/11 investigation they said why didn't you know? the balance between expectations and security service to make sure nothing happens and then critiques every time you overcollect on a national security letter, it is very frustrating to work with this problem. so i think that the question is do we have a dialogue on what
our expectations are. you have to expect that people are going to be saying where is population x, y and z. have we talked to them about this? we want to know where they are. we want to talk to them. we want to have those communities talk to us. we want to be in those communities so they feel comfortable. a lot of people expect them to talk about plots. my experience is that doesn't happen very often but you want people who are comfortable after a plot breaks to come talk to you about what they knew about so you can look at the threats and where they went. you want some community leader to tell the parents of a kid say don't worry, i know those bureau guys. i think you have to be thinking preemptively because that's what the american people think and then you need help from the hill and the white house and elsewhere when you make a mistake and overcollect and people say how did you doha? you asked us never to make one
bad thing happen and when we make a mistake you say we collected too much. >> damned if you do, damned if you don't. that's important. i want to put a plug in for state and local intelligence, nypd, lapd. i think there are some mechanisms that can be spread elsewhere. you have a question? >> hi. i want to just follow up on this discussion that suzanne got started on. that is the issue of long-term perspective. as someone who has worked with senior executive branch officials, some who were apointed and others career folks. it is a huge challenge, our perspective in my view is very short-term. you mentioned how oured a very sares have taken decades or even a century. can you talk us through our approach how to shift that?
>> no. i'm not sure i have an answer. i guess what i'm saying is for example, if you're red teaming another event and how quickly do you get the question of whether you need a congressional or presidential inquire to find out what went wrong and whose head needs to roll? maybe the question would be would we have taken this bet five years ago? there is an informer global security network. we haven't had an attack in this country. i think he would have said i'll take that bet in a heartbeat. going back to my experience. if you had given me that wager, i would say man, i want to say the odds on that, that has to be 100-1. i think we have to keep cool in the event, sorts of practice it. keep cool and say, look, we would have take then bet nine
years ago. let's not now give this adversary another victory by saying ok. now we have -- how about ndc. create another acronym. i don't care anymore. i'm not giving an answer. i think my response would be you have to be mature in the face ofa adversity and that's what they pay people for. stand up and realize that sometimes when you're playing defense for nine years somebody might slip through and man up and move on. and mourn the dead because they were -- they are not victims of terrorism, they are victims of murder. it is the saddest thing to me. by the way, not only the victims of murder but the families who are destroyed by a 17-year-old kid. that kid in atlanta, georgia. that kid is a plotter. his life is destroyed now too. i feel bad for him because he
was misguided. >> if you can turn the mico. -- mic on. >> phil, thanks for the fascinating discussion. i want to pick up on a point that suzanne talked about. >> why everybody is quoting suzanne? don't do that! >> she got the ball rolling rolling. we see -- you talked about the kind of increasing irrelevance of the narrative within the muslim communities across the world. at the same time with the rise in domestic plots over the last 12-18 months, it is almost as if the narrate i ever has taken on more sailians among the american muslim living in georgia virginia or london. what do we make of this?
how could it become less popular and on the other become more popular in some of our -- >> some of this is a measure of time. you know, that is -- that the nair tiver reached these shores i think a bit late and i should say from the outside, i view this as a 20-30-year proposition. i think it took a while to get here. i think, you know, 320 million americans. or something. i've always wonders for example about going to the university of maryland and asking a stati stician how statistically significant is that? i think it is significant operationly. -pbut as a security professiona but i still don't see this as a threat in the united states. talking to my colleagues, they
sit on a lot more threat than i do. izzly, not kidding 10 -- easily, not kidding 10-1. we still should consider ourselves lucky. given head of the snakened that this country is so large and diverse. we can't look at new york or philadelphia. looking at 50 cities at once and also the problems that we face in our network from l.a. to new york. if you have l.a. or new york covered that doesn't mean that you'll pick up a plot in denver or houston. i don't necessarily view the plots we have seen over the past year as indications of a radical inflution of ideology here. i think we're going to continue to see ups and downs in the coming years. i think the questions we will have is whether al qaeda central can regroup and whether we have a strategic threat and whether some of these in the al qaeda peninsula can organize some pretty heavy duty plotting
against country. if you have safe haven and combine that with intent, wenal we're going to get hit. i'm talking out of both sides of my mouth. i believe that there is a -- an increase of plotting. but i don't think it is that we're sitting on a hotbed of revolution. i'm kind surprised this came this late. i would have thought we would see it in 2003, 2004, 2005. it is almost inevitable. i think we ought to take it in stride. one of them is going to get through. i guess, what's his name in new york. the he is an amateur until he the fuse is right and then he is a pro. we're going to get an amateur turn into a pro one of these days. >> the people who americans see
glimmers of themselves and that's why they are resonating. if you look at the number s of sites, it is not the jihaddist sites but the chatrooms that we should be focusing on. these are largely in english. >> i'm sorry. one quick comment i should make. if you look at two interlinked numbers, the first is the number of people picked up in plots over the past couple of years who are not foreign-born. many of whom are converts and then you look -- i keep refer to this. you look at the research, three or four years ago on american-muslim attitudes, you will find from non-foreign born muslims in the united states a remarkable degree of dissatisfaction. i'm not taking a shot at anybody. the numbers are there. quite striking. not only do you see an
undercurrent of people who believe they are disenfranchise. you see it in the number of people who are arrested. part of the answer to the question is there are a fair number of people in this country who may be susceptible to a recruiting pitch not necessarily related to al qaeda but saying that american society didn't treat us whiting and we ought to do something. >> international center for terrorism studies at the potomac institute. looking back at my deployment in goib. -- in guantanamo bay. is it worth the tradeoffs in international perception and the sensitive moderates that you talked about earlier. could you please comment on that?
>> i guess the challenges i have -- i'll put it more in my context. let's talk about detainees. the experience i had that links to the c.i.a. or the experience you had which relates to guantanamo bay. stop. i mean, i know there are questions about this, people dispute. what we received from al qaeda members who were talked to by c.i.a. but i can tell you as a trained analyst with 25 years in it, the value -- the core of any intelligence operation, the sources and wires, human beings and technical coverage, there was a third pillar that started to emerge in 2002, that was detainees. invaluable information. that is only half your question. the other half was was it worth it? i think we didn't have a lot of
time back in 2002 and 2003 and four. the level of threat was high. people made good faith choices. it makes me quate angry in this town that we can't learn from the past. we simply have to attack the past. we have had the luxury of no attacks and the luxury of a public debate on what the american people want. let's look forward and say if that is not what the american people want, that seems clear to me, let's take whatever path they want. i'm not here to judge on what wh whether what we did years ago was right or wrong but it was valuable. as long as you're willing to take the hit and not receiving intelligence that was invaluable. i understand people who represent the will of the people and american values want us to go in a different direction. that's fine. i think that is ok. any security service in a
democratic society serves for the people, for the executive branch, for the ledge slavet branch and if that is the direction, i worked for those in the c.i.a. i think -- i'm uncomfortable with the amount of judging that goes on about whether we made perfect choices eight years ago. things were fast. we tried our best. i'm an american citizen. i think about it every day and we tried do the right thing. people think maybe we should try something else. that's ok. >> phil, how do you see large scale -- the risk of it and the effects in al qaeda's perception and of course on americans? >> i think the effect would be absolutely devastating and i'm not much of a -- after so many years of this, you know, i think as you move through management ranks, one of your
responsibilities is to keep cool. i think it would be absolutely devastating. i think that the likelihood is extremely low because the ainlt to acquire these things depends on safe haven expertise. all of the kinds of things al qaeda has lost. they can maybe attack a bus or a train and putting together anthrax program to explode a nuclear device but i think especially now the likelihood of that now is declining. not because of the lack of intent but because that takes time, expertise, money. safe hane. this is an organization that is having a lot of problems if all of those areas. the second half of that is significant. if you take the disorganization seeks to continue to destabilize the head of the snake, not just to kill people, not just to make them afraid, but to convince others who might be on the fence, to come to our side, i think that panic
attacks, which we think less about than catastrophic attacks, panic attacks are fairly likely and i think meet the revolutionary goal of the organization, certainly not as much as a nuclear weapon but for example, radio isotopes. we see them try to turn to these things in the past. i keep going to my original vision in the organization thinking those are both easier to do. need less safe haven. less access to materials and you still have the benefit of people saying whoa, brave new world. radio isotopes in new york. i think there is a decent chance of that. not as great a chance. i still think almost everything i saw over the years, was conventional. you know, weapons, grenades, backpack explosives. bleach, whatever the heck you do with the backpack stuff we saw in denver.